Re: Triad Systems and Ohio Recount

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Sun Dec 26 2004 - 20:34:35 CST

If you have non-technical bi-partisan persons observing the tech, there
should also be a videotape or other continuous recording of what is
going on and the explanation, because a technical person may wish to
view the event later to confirm that what the tech said s/he was doing
was in fact what s/he was doing.
Teresa Hommel

Douglas W. Jones wrote:

>
> On Dec 23, 2004, at 4:09 PM, Edmund R. Kennedy wrote:
>
>> Doug, why did Triad say they needed to access the tabulating machine
>> anyway?
>
>
> In order to change the programming to conform to the
> requirements imposed by the secretary of state for the
> recount, that only presidential votes and no others be
> recounted.
>
> The extended access to the machine started when the
> machines wouldn't boot because of dead batteries. The
> batteries were ancient.
>
> Of course, if I was a suspicious type, I could imagine
> creating this scenario cleverly in order to gain access
> to the machines and swap in bogus stuff, but I find that
> far fetched. Nonetheless, the unmonitored access should
> never have happened, so that this unlikely scenario
> could never be imagined.
>
>> Wouldn't a more appropriate response be to swap the machine out it
>> there was something wrong?
>
>
> Yes, of course, but the administration of voting systems
> in Ohio is operating under the assumption that computers
> are expensive, so they are still nursing ancient
> machines. Also, the software in questions only works
> under DOS, as I understand it, and cannot be run under
> Windows. This may be a matter of competence, not fundamental
> technological limitations, but in general, Windows compatable
> software is expensive to develop, particularly if it uses
> odd peripherals like punched card readers.
>
>> Also, is there some sort of check sum or hash check like way that
>> could be used to deal with this sort of problem in the future?
>
>
> Not with the existing software, and as the Nevada gambling
> system's "pyramid of trust" suggests, not without a custom
> BIOS chip.
>
>> I ask, in general, if a hash check of the software package(s) shows
>> no change in the hash code developed before and after servicing the
>> equipment than nothing would have been 'fixed' right? If this would
>> work, then you would not necessarily need to have an highly informed
>> guard monitoring a contractor working on election equipment.
>
>
> I would argue for two guards, one Democrat and one Republican,
> and then I'd argue that they don't need to be that highly
> informed, what the need to do is demand that the tech
> they're monitoring provide explanations of what he's doing,
> in a running narrative. Let the tech teach the guards, and
> in the process force, the tech, if he is dishonest, to lie,
> and make sure that lie is breach of his contract and that it's
> covered by election law. I'd be happy if the monitors were
> 80 year old grandmothers as long as they demanded explanations
> and acted suspicious.
>
>> This is something where it seems like various clear proceedures needs
>> to be developed by the election officials and is something we might
>> be able to work through.
>
>
> Absolutely!
>
> Doug Jones
> jones@cs.uiowa.edu
>
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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:19 2004

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